6 useful tips for a stress free haul-out of your boat.

We recently hauled Marty Alessa out of the water after nearly 3 years, yes, long overdue but life and circumstances got in our way. Here are 6 handy tips that helped us survive this major upheaval in our lives. (Not guaranteed to make it “stress-free” but they will help!)

1. First and foremost, check out exactly where you are going to be hauled out, what is the depth, are there any obstacles in the way? We were worried about the multi-million dollar yachts around us as we had a prop problem. Captain wisely had a dinghy and crew on standby in case the prop bolt fell out and we had no forward thrust. It did! Would have been catastrophic if we were not prepared. If you know where your straps should go, mark that clearly. Captain Mike was very hands-on when it came to placing the straps correctly!

Captain Mike making sure the straps were placed exactly where he wanted them!

2. Decide if you are going to stay on board or not. We knew we needed at least 2 weeks on the hard in a VERY busy boatyard and with me recovering from 2 cracked ribs, we decided to move off the boat. To navigate a ladder a few times a day (or night ) was not a good option. Make sure your accommodation is as close to your boatyard as possible and that there is reliable public transport if needed. Budget for this. This brings me to point number 3…

There was no way in hell I was going to get up and down that ladder with a few cracked ribs every day for a week or more!

3.Budget. Carefully. Then add some hefty “padding” if you have to buy everything at the boatyard or chandlery! Do your homework before your haul-out. Buy the parts you know you will need. Check what boaty shops are close to your boatyard. Obviously being in Cape Town, we had access to a lot of marine supply shops really close by. If in a remote area, check what you need to order and do it way in advance. I can imagine nothing more frustrating than needing a thru-hull or engine part and waiting for it to arrive while your boat is on the hard (and the bill is climbing day by day).

4.Also, in line with the above, and just as important is your planning. sounds obvious but its all about the detail. Captain Mike had a very clear list (actually his lists eventually had their own lists) and an idea of exactly what had to be checked and done. There is always a sense of urgency when your boat is on the hard, having a black and white list of EVERYTHING that niggles you helps you get, hopefully, most of it ticked off. Expect extra problems that will not be on your lists because they will only appear after the haul-out, It is part of the fun so don’t fight it! (This is where the extra bit of “padding” in your budget is handy!)

5.If you are staying on the hard, check the facilities before you book. Is there power, water, laundry (its filthy work! ) are there shower facilities? Do you need a key or pass to get into the showers after hours? RCYC is fantastic, only one small complaint: the men have 5 showers available with soap, shampoo etc supplied. The women? 2 showers. With no nice toiletries! Oh well, I guess the men do outnumber the women on the ocean!

6. It sounds silly but there are a few housekeeping things you need to take care of if you are leaving your boat. I almost forgot I had a deep-freeze with quite a bit of frozen meat in it. Yes, we had electricity but we were not there to check if the power went off. Pickle your water-maker if you have one, in advance. Cover or pack away your bedding, towels etc. plus anything else that you can, my books and photographs were covered in dust. We dedicated one area for all the tools and mess that Michael needed to have/make and tried to contain it to that one area only (salon). This was mildly successful but I tried!

Hauling out your boat is obviously necessary every now and then but we planned it well and all in all it went really smoothly. I hope these 6 tips help you when you do your haul out.

Read about our trip to Cape Town here.

Captain Mike and Nikki.

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